Ignored Signs Equal Lost Time for Elderly

The elderly often ignore heath signals of diabetes. Georgia Richardson was no different.

"To be honest, I was in denial about my diabetes for awhile," she said. "It's as if I thought, 'Maybe it will go away,' even though I knew it wouldn't."

The retired teacher in her late 70’s was spotlighted in a recent article by The Sacramento Bee as a typical case of older Americans ignoring issues that could have serious health repercussions. She eventually embraced the exercise program and lifestyle changes needed to battle her diabetes, but she admits she lost valuable time.

"We need to look at things people don't want to face," she said, "and diabetes is one of them."

Ignored Symptoms

There are many common symptoms that those with high blood sugar experience. Numbness and tingling in extremities is one such symptom that may go on for years before a patent calls their doctor. Many of the older generation do not get their recommended checkups, and the blood tests, that can check for the early warning signs.

Small Symptoms, Huge Health Crisis

While it is easy to ignore what might seem like a small symptom, Doctor John Bissell of the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center says, "It's a largely self-inflicted problem, and there are huge public health problems as a result." He is chief of neurology at the facility. According to the report, diabetes is linked to the development of dementia, as well as other painful and debilitating disorders, such as blindness, kidney failure and high blood pressure.

"The dementia link is significant," said Bissell, "but I don't think that's well understood by people with diabetes. They have so many other health problems, and they have so many people beating on them about their weight because of those health problems."

Sources:

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/20/4644184/diabetes-among-elderly-is-growi...
http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/neuropathies/

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